TD Bank to take over Carolina First Bank locations June 20

The end of the Carolina First Bank era in South Carolina is nearing as all of the lender's branches will reopen for business June 20 under the TD Bank name.

"A lot will be going on," Rob Hoak, regional president, said Tuesday.

Hoak said the three-day conversion crunch that's to take place from June 17 to 19 will require the swapping out of about 1,350 signs at branches and automated teller machines, not to mention numerous technological changes.

"Once that's done, our customers from Maine to Florida will have access to 1,300 stores and 2,000 ATMs," Hoak said.

As part of the changeover TD Bank will offer its customers extended hours and Saturday openings in South Carolina.

In Beaufort County, Carolina First has two locations on Hilton Head Island, two in Bluffton and one in Okatie, according to its website.

"We will be going to 50 hours a week per store," Hoak said, noting that TD's catchphrase is "America's Most Convenient Bank."

The June conversion to the TD brand will mark the end of one of the fastest-growing financial institutions to come out of South Carolina. Carolina First was the 1986 brainchild of Mack Whittle and The South Financial Group Inc. The

company became the largest bank owner based in the state, amassing more than $14 billion in assets and 180 offices in the Carolinas and Florida.

But the real estate crash sent South Financial reeling, forcing its sale last September. TD, the expansion-minded U.S. arm of Canada's Toronto-Dominion Bank, is one of the 15 largest commercial lenders in the United States. It also boasts a triple-A debt rating, Hoak said.

"I think that's very comforting to our customers and the market," he said.